By Mike McClure

The Delmar varsity field hockey team enters the 2021 season looking to win its sixth straight state championship. The Wildcats, who went 10-0 in the conference and 15-0 overall last season, had pre-season play days at Cape Henlopen the last two weeks.

“Everybody’s in shape, working hard,” said Delmar head coach Jodi Hollamon. “It’s a great group of kids.”

Shown are Delmar’s seniors: Ella Shockley, Rachel Anchundia, and Kelly Davis.

The team’s returning players are seniors Ella Shockley, Kelly Davis, and Rachel Anchundia; juniors Emma Price, Josie Hollamon, Laura Rogers, Lillian Kay, Lilly Waters, Maci Bradford, Summer Payne; sophomores Abygail Jamison, Baylie Phillips, Brooke Morris, Emily Bitters, Jordyn Bunting, and Regan Wells; freshmen Myah Niblett, Laela Brown, Jordyn Hollamon, and Emily Smith.

Hollamon is looking for her returning players to be leaders and communicate on and off the field. The Wildcats have two strong goalies in Davis and Payne. The defense is experienced, but a number of players have moved to different sports. Delmar will also have a different formation this year.

“Every year we’ve gotten better. It’s great to be part of this team,” Shockley said. “I just want to be a leader for the girls younger than me and show them what Delmar hockey is.”

Among the newcomers are freshmen Alayna Howard, Kendra Faucette, and Isabella Travers; eighth graders Ava Price, Kaydence Melvin, Rilyn Nichols, Samantha Sopourn, and Somer Layton.

Hollamon is looking for the young players to fill some big slots left by last year’s graduates. “Everybody’s working together and trusting each other,” said Hollamon.

Shockley, who has been a part of the program since sixth grade and with the varsity team since eighth grade, looked up to the team’s seniors when she was younger. Now she is leading the young players and looking to end her high school career on a high note.

Hollamon expects teams like Lake Forest and Sussex Academy to be contenders in the Henlopen South. The team’s goal is to win the South, conference, and state titles. “Our ultimate goal every year is to win a state title,” she said.

In order to have a chance to defend their title, the Wildcats will need to get better with every game, especially when facing a difficult schedule in October.

Delmar opens the regular season in the Bi-State challenge at Cape Henlopen against Our Lady of Good Counsel and Pocomoke on Sept. 10 and 11. The Wildcats are scheduled to face Wilmington Friends in the home opener on Sept. 14, if work on the field is completed by then.

“We’ve been working hard the past couple weeks. It will be good to get out there and see what we have and show other teams we’re still Delmar field hockey,” Shockley said.